The bike with bite: Alligator killed in US wildlife cull is reborn as 'GatorBike'By Mail Foreign Service
Last updated at 3:44 PM on 14th February 2010
How do you outrun an alligator that has a top speed of more than 120mph?
Thankfully this one doesn't bite anymore but 'GatorBike' as it has been dubbed is still going to turn heads and set pulses racing as it eats up the highways.
The custom-made bike, crafted from the skin and skull of a real alligator that was culled by authorities to keep their numbers down, has been created to raise funds for a wildlife charity.
Jim Jablon on his GatorBike made from the hide of an alligator killed in FloridaJim Jablon, owner of the Wildlife Rehabilitation of Hernando (WROH) in Florida, devised the GatorBike to raise funds for his centre. WROH rescues exotic pets that have been neglected or abused by their owners and either releases them back into the wild, re-homes them or cares for them on site.
He said: 'All those skins from culled gators usually get pinned up in people's yards so I thought why not put one to good use.'
Jim has worked with the animals at his rehab centre for twelve years and is looking for funds so that he can expand to care for more confiscated and abandoned bizarre pets. His collection of friends includes Zoro the black and white ruffed lemur, Dozer the lynx and Artic the albino Burmese python.
Jim Jablon with Arctic the Albino python on the Gatorbike
'Zoro, Dozer and Artic were all in very bad shape when they came to the sanctuary,' said Jim, 45, of Spring Hill, Florida.
'They were malnourished and petrified but we fed them up and now they're very happy creatures," he said.
The GatorBike was made by Swedish craftsman and leather expert Benny Ohrman, 60, who spent a year perfecting its scaly contours.
The skin is detachable but the head is fixed permanently into the handlebars and has the speedometer and other gauges implanted into the back of the skull. The custom-made bike has a powerful Ultima engine and cost Jim £51,000 of his own money to build.
'We even gave the lower parts a slick, alligator skin paint job,' said Jim. 'It's quite a work of art. You can't ride anywhere on that thing without being stopped by people. It turns a lot of heads.' Tickets for the raffle cost $100 (£75) and can be bought at Jim's website. Only 1000 tickets are being sold and anyone from any country can enter.
'We wanted to give everyone the chance to have the GatorBike,' said Jim.
Gatorbike will be raffled and a winner drawn in May in Fort Lauderdale. Jim plans to print off every entry, place them in a pool full of 'gaters and model Amara Tamura, 22, dive in and fetch a winner at random.
'It's not dangerous,' he said. 'We're not going to attach cooked chicken to her or anything.'
Eating up the highway: Jim Jablon with python in the jaws of the bike
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1250891/Road-Kill-Alligator-killed-US.html#ixzz0fYhojbvM